Chromebooks have emerged as the clear leader in the classroom, reports CNBC, leaving former market leader Apple for dust.

Chromebooks now make up more than half of all devices in U.S. classrooms, up from less than 1 percent in 2012, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting […]

Google’s rapid gains come at the expense of its biggest rivals. Over the past three years, Apple’s market share been slashed by more than half, from 52 to 24 percent and Microsoft’s market share has slipped from 43 to 24 percent.

Chromebooks now make up 4.4M of the 8.9M devices sold to schools and school districts, with Google noting that it is seeing the dual benefit of both increased market share and overall growth in demand for computing devices in schools … 

“It’s been amazing to us to see that growth happen just in that short amount of time,” said Rajen Sheth, director of product management for Android and Chrome in business and education. “If you look at the overall market for devices in education, it’s actually expanded a lot and Chromebooks have actually taken a lot of the expansion.”

Some 30,000 new Chromebooks are being activated in schools every day.

Part of the explanation for the dramatic growth is price, with two low-cost models approved for schools.

Chromebooks offer easy access to Google Play for Education software, and range from $199 for the CTL J2 Chromebook, to $249.99 for Toshiba’s Chromebook 2, plus a $30 management fee. These devices come with teacher-approved apps and books, and let administrators share content to individuals, entire classes or entire schools in just a few clicks.

Easy account management makes them easier to share between students than Apple’s iPads, which suffered a major setback when a pilot scheme went very badly wrong.

Google’s own educational efforts have not been without controversy, with the company first refusing and then agreeing to sign a Student Privacy Pledge, and now facing a possible FTC investigation into privacy issues following a complaint Google says is misplaced.

If you’re planning on buying your own Chromebook, whether for yourself or as a gift, check out our buyers’ guide.

Photo: TPH News

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